Lynn's EDIC wants to turn 'eyesore' into artist lofts

June 24, 2011
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

The Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) has set its sights on another downtown building it claims has been abandoned.

EDIC Director James Cowdell said the abandoned building at 33 Central St. is an "eyesore," but it's on the market for $189,000 and would be a perfect addition to his plans to establish a downtown cultural district.

The building lodged between Columbia Insurance and RawArts was once home to Arnold's Stationary.

Lettering announcing paper, office supplies, art supplies, pencils, forms and notebooks still adorns the windows of the five-story building.

The large front windows on the first floor, however, have been boarded over and there's a large red X on the front door which warns firefighters that the building is unsafe.

A sign just below the X, dated Dec. 7, 2010 and signed by the city's Inspectional Services Department, also warns people to keep out.

"It's been abandoned for a long time," he said. "We're not talking weeks. It's been at least two years, probably longer but I'll say two."

City Councilor Brendan Crighton said he began receiving complaints about the property from nearby residents about a year ago.

"There were issues with the safety and integrity of the structure, the roof, fire codes and the sprinklers," he said.

Cowdell said a problem with the roof led to significant water damage throughout the building.

He said he was also concerned with residents who had moved into the new condos nearby "and now they're looking at this eyesore."

Crighton said the City Council agreed in January to a file a demolition order on the property, but tabled the issue when the building owner, Zee Mah, began cooperating and addressing some of the concerns. His inability to sell the building led to a drop in cooperation, however, Crighton said.

Mah could not be reached for comment but Cowdell said he is aware the offer to buy the building is on the table.

If Mah sells, Cowdell said the plan is to turn the property into residential/commercial with a retail shop or art studio on the first floor and artist lofts on the top four floors.

The plan would mesh nicely with the EDIC's bid to turn the Central Square and City Hall areas into a state-recognized cultural center, he said.



Back to News